Why Doctrine?

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Family Bible Fellowship Forum Index -> Misc. Theological Topics
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
darin-houston



Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 134
Location: Houston, TX

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:26 am    Post subject: Why Doctrine? Reply with quote

What do you say to people who don't think doctrine matters ?

I was having a discussion a while back with a family member about their denomination's belief on a subject and she decided she was going to ask them if it was true. She came back later and decided she "didn't want to know" because it would interfere with her ability to worship if I was right.

She said further that she didn't think doctrine mattered at all, and that all that mattered was relying on Jesus for your salvation and singing songs of worship and living right. If it didn't relate to personal holiness, why "learn" ?

How do you respond to that?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Paidion



Joined: 25 Jul 2005
Posts: 944
Location: Chapple, Ontario

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's see what the New Testament teaches about the importance of "doctrine". As the word is used today, the NT teaches nothing about it. In our day, "doctrine refers to a set of theological beliefs.

Although the word "doctrine" occurs 44 times in the King James, it never has the modern connotation. The word is "didaskalia", the nounal form of "didaskō". The latter word means "teach", and is translated that way in every version including the King James. So why is the nounal form not translated as "teaching" (some versions do so). If you look up the 44 instances of "didaskalia" you will find the word can be transalted as "teaching" in every instance, and makes perfect sense. Indeed, it is required in most cases since the refence is to teaching how to live.

Notice Revelation 2:14 describes "the doctrine of Balaam":

...the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

According to Jesus' letter to Pergamos (through John), Balaam's "false doctrine" was to teach Balac to to evil. In the very next sentence Jesus states that he hates the doctine of the Nicolaitans. And what was this "doctrine" or teaching? According to Eusebius it was the teaching that since the flesh was useless, one ought to abuse the flesh by fornicating.

Note these words of Jesus as translated in the NKJV:

"Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’" Matthew 15:7-9 NKJV

How could the commandments of men be "doctrine" in the modern sense of the word? But the commandments of men certainly could be "teachings"

In this particular sentence, "teaching as teachings the commandments of men" sounds a little awkward, although some versions so translate it. Darby, NIV, Rotherham, and YLT do not use the word "doctrine" in this passage.

So maybe your relative has a point about "doctrine" since, as the word is used today, it is not stressed or even mentioned in the New Testament.
Emphasis about differences in theological beliefs can indeed be divisive.

Having said all this, beliefs are nevertheless important since our whole world view is related to our beliefs. In Christianity, there seems to be some essential beliefs that define disciples of Christ. The early "creeds" tried to get a handle on these essential beliefs. Some of them are as follows:

1. Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God.

2. Jesus died to deliver us from sin.

3. Jesus was raised to life again, and we who are his disciples will be raised too and become immortal.

4. We who are Christ's disciples have abiding, permanent life in us.

These are perhaps the "doctrines" that every true disciple accepts. We all believe that there are other important ones, too, but we differ from others in many of our other beliefs. These differences should not be made a test for fellowship, nor should agreement in theological beliefs be made a basis for fellowship. The basis for Christian fellowship is our submission to Christ and our love and praise to him and his Father.
_________________
Paidion
Avatar --- Age 45
"Not one soul will ever be redeemed from hell but by being saved from his sins, from the evil in him." --- George MacDonald
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rick_C



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 146
Location: West Central Ohio

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Why Doctrine? Reply with quote

Hello, I see where Darin wrote:
I was having a discussion a while back with a family member about their denomination's belief on a subject and she decided she was going to ask them if it was true. She came back later and decided she "didn't want to know" because it would interfere with her ability to worship if I was right.

She said further that she didn't think doctrine mattered at all, and that all that mattered was relying on Jesus for your salvation and singing songs of worship and living right. If it didn't relate to personal holiness, why "learn" ?

How do you respond to that?


Paidion is correct to point out that the word "doctrine" can mean more than one thing in our day, depending how one uses (defines) it.

Most people who've done basic theology studies know it simply meant "teachings" in the Bible days and still does now. And, of course, we have the "tension", so to speak, of whether or not we and/or churches we go to teach what the Bible does. (If I could only find an Amillennial Pentecostal/Charismatic church that doesn't insist you have to speak in tongues to be genuinely "Spirit-filled." Also, their theology of worship would have to include: "We believe the band shouldn't be so LOUD that you can't hear yourself, leave alone anyone else (in the congregation) singing").... Laughing

Getting back to Darin:
I have an example of how "doctrine" might be "un-needed to know"....
I have a cousin who is a preacher and a Calvinist. In the past when he visits myself and my Mom, he has wanted to debate about it. After one session of it, I declined to discuss it with him further. My Mom wanted to know what was the problem? After explaining just a couple Calvinistic doctrines to her in private, she interrupted me, saying she didn't want to hear any more!

It concerned her about my cousin and what is he teaching? All she asked me then was, "But you don't think Calvinism is un-Christian do you?" (meaning: Is my cousin really saved?). I said yes, that he is certainly still saved, even though "we" don't agree with him about predestination and so on: My mother is an Arminian, I'm a "non-Calvinist."

My Mom didn't want, and probably doesn't need, to know anything more about Calvinism. It is a matter of conscience for her...as it worries her about my cousin's teachings ("doctrines"). She can't begin to fathom how Calvinism could be seen as true and probably is still worried about my cousin and his beliefs.

So when cousin visits (yearly) we agreed not to discuss Calvinism any more. I requested this to my Cuz and he readily agreed. We have so many other things "in agreement" to fellowship about, we gladly resolved. Amen? Amen!

Darin,
Perhaps the person you talked to has a similar issue of conscience (like my Mom's) in doctrinal matters?

Darin also wrote:
What do you say to people who don't think doctrine matters?


I'd say:
"The belief that doctrine doesn't matter is a doctrinal statement."
_________________
16 OCT 2008: This nick is no longer active.
I post on the "new forum" as RickC:
http://theos.org/forum/index.php
Thanks, and God bless you.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
darin-houston



Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 134
Location: Houston, TX

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Her perspective is a bit different -- it's not so much that she doesn't want to know the truth, she just doesn't want to know whether or not her church (pastor and denomination) believes what she does. I suggested it was important to know where they were coming from on a couple of key points so that she could filter other things to make sure it didn't color other things he/they were teaching.

So, I guess I should re-phrase the question -- how do you convince someone that what their church believes matters ?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sean



Joined: 31 Mar 2004
Posts: 640
Location: Smithton, IL

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

darin-houston wrote:
Her perspective is a bit different -- it's not so much that she doesn't want to know the truth, she just doesn't want to know whether or not her church (pastor and denomination) believes what she does. I suggested it was important to know where they were coming from on a couple of key points so that she could filter other things to make sure it didn't color other things he/they were teaching.

So, I guess I should re-phrase the question -- how do you convince someone that what their church believes matters ?


You could just let her know that many people are led astray so it's important to at least know that much. Maybe read 2 Peter 2 to her. Peter seemed to think it was important to not be lead astray by false teachers, which would seem to imply knowing what the truth is in the first palce so you can discern it from error.
_________________
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Rick_C



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 146
Location: West Central Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darin wrote:
So, I guess I should re-phrase the question -- how do you convince someone that what their church believes matters ?


Of course, it matters!
I would ask: Why wouldn't it?

As one who has been looking for a "good denomination" I've been through many Statements of Faith (or "What We Believe(s)"), weighing the pros & cons.

Anyway, Darin, why don't you just tell us what this lady's doctrinal issue is?
Does the church teach Calvinism? (or what is it)?

If she is confused, there should be a way to fix it or put things in perspective. For example, I've looked for a "born-again denomination" in my area that isn't dispensationalist: There is only one.

All things considered, I "fixed" the problem by making this a secondary issue (I have a hard time supporting a dispensationalist church. In fact, at one time, I "vowed" I wouldn't even visit one)!

One born-again Pastor (an amillennialist) advised me that since virtually all (but one) born-again churches in my area are dispensationalists, I'd be severely limiting my "circle of fellowship" if I wrote them off! Hence, I made it a secondary thing...Make sense?
Thanks.
_________________
16 OCT 2008: This nick is no longer active.
I post on the "new forum" as RickC:
http://theos.org/forum/index.php
Thanks, and God bless you.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Family Bible Fellowship Forum Index -> Misc. Theological Topics All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group

BlueSilver_C 1.00 Theme was programmed by DEVPPL JavaScript Forum
Images were made by DEVPPL Flash Games